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Spanish police capture London rapper who joined Islamic State

Police described Abdel-Majed Abdel Bary as one of the 'most wanted foreign terrorist fighters in Europe'
Abdel-Majed Abdel Bary rapped about his life struggles under the names L Jinny and Lyricist Jin (Youtube/screengrab)

Former London rapper Abdel-Majed Abdel Bary, who was one of the most wanted Islamic State (IS) group militants in Europe, has been captured in the southern Spanish city of Almeria, Spanish national police said on Tuesday. 

Abdel Bary made headlines across the world after joining the group in 2013 and posing with severed heads in IS-controlled territories in Syria. 

The amateur rapper disappeared in 2015 as his social media accounts were suspended and IS started losing the Iraqi and Syrian territories over which it had proclaimed a caliphate. 

On Tuesday, Spanish police said Abdel Bary had reached the country via North Africa and largely abided by the stay-at-home orders to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, wearing a mask when he leaves his residence.

He was detained with two other suspects. 

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"National police officers have carried out an anti-terrorist operation that has culminated in the arrest in Almeria of one of the most wanted foreign terrorist fighters in Europe," police said in a statement.

Abdel Bary is the son of Egyptian militant Adel Abdul Bary who pleaded guilty in a US court in 2014 to involvement in the 1998 bombings of two American embassies in east Africa. He was later sentenced to 25 years in prison.

The IS suspect had grown up in the London neighbourhood of Maida Vale. In the early 2010s, he started posting music videos on Youtube where he rapped about his life struggles under the names L Jinny and Lyricist Jin.

Abdel Bary, the son, was initially suspected of being IS executioner "Jihadi John" who beheaded Western journalists on video before it was confirmed that the notorious militant was Mohammed Emwazi, who got killed in a US air strike on Raqqa in 2015.

It is not clear whether the UK, which has stripped IS militants of their citizenships, will seek the extradition of Abdel Bary from Spain.

British media refers to Abdel Bary along with Emwazi and fellow militants El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Kotey as the IS Beatles because of their British accents. 

Elsheikh and Kotey remain in the custody of the Kurdish-dominated, US-backed Syrian Democratic forces, which captured the de facto IS capital of Raqqa in Syria in 2017.